Blade Runner ★★★★

Our imaginations have come alive since the introduction of CGI into cinema over the past twenty-odd years, a sense of freedom delivered via processors and chipsets. Yet films like Blade Runner, that should have dated a long time ago, still appear as fresh as the time in which they were born, a creation so strong that it transcended a specific moment and formed a subconscious hold over the genre that exists to this day.

Ridley Scott goes for straight for the big themes, of Gods and men, masters and slaves, hearts and minds. He is not successful in meshing together all of his ideas into this one world without leaving some of them unfulfilled. What he does achieve is an atmosphere that manages to cover the deficiencies in the story, primarily by paying homage to cinematic history with the neo-noir framing.

Along with the many animals that appear related to the characters in the film, the one motif that resonates clearly is the human eye. The window to the soul. But here it becomes one that can be scientifically tested to determine depth of humanity. A man like Tyrell is a genius who should be settled on a colony somewhere else, except he hides behind glasses, a master of technology who is closer to the machines he has crafted than his own kind. Giant eyes oversee the city on billboards, tears roll down cheeks and Frankenstein kills his creator by looking deep into his eyes.

Despite the determination to eliminate the replicants emotion it's hard to find anywhere in the dusky, shadowed world. Even the love scene between Deckard and Rachael seems more perfunctory than an act of real passion, almost like two strangers attempting to make a connection with something in order to feel. A cynicism pervades this world and the people within it, tying it back to a traditionalist narrative that fits so well with such a futuristic setting.

Scott's biggest failing, as with nearly all of his films, is a flimsy plot and a pale script that only manages to work because of the noir structuring. On a few occasions a film can survive such self-defeating elements that are normally crucial to making it work. He is so clearly in love with the world he has created, so perfectly formed and developed, that he has allowed us to overlook what should be major issues whilst we fall head over heels too.

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